How would the last few years in Formula 1 have gone if Lewis Hamilton had not switched to Mercedes in 2013?
This is a question that Red Bull boss Christian Horner will probably also be asking himself because he had a hand in the deal it has since been revealed. For him, it turned out to be his biggest miscalculation in Formula 1.
Lewis Hamilton’s career took off in 2007, and in 2008 he celebrated his first world championship title in McLaren. After four years without a title, he joined Mercedes in 2013 and started an incredible era. He won six titles, only beaten by his team-mate Nico Rosberg in 2016.
But the fact that Lewis Hamilton ended up at Mercedes at all is probably also thanks to Christian Horner. The Red Bull boss refrained from signing the British driver when he had a chance to.
“Lewis and I have had a few conversations over the years. He really wanted to drive for Red Bull from 2010 to 2013. We had Sebastian then and it wouldn’t have made sense to have two alpha drivers,” Horner now reveals in an interview with the Daily Mail.
Horner even advised Mercedes to sign Hamilton
But it gets worse. Horner himself advised Mercedes to sign Hamilton:
“Niki Lauda was at Mercedes and was very keen to take Lewis and I remember encouraging him to take him. We were struggling against McLaren and in 2012 they had the fastest car and we felt Lewis would be a bigger threat in a McLaren than in a Mercedes.”
In hindsight, that turned out to be a bitter mistake. “I encouraged Niki to spend the money as Lewis was wavering a bit. It would be fair to say that backfired on me,” Horner now admits.